Liveaboards are considered by many divers to be the pinnacle of diving holidays, offering more ‘bang for your buck’ than equivalent land-based alternatives. It is not uncommon to log up to four or five dives a day, and as you take your ‘room’ with you, you can gain access to stunning dive sites that are far out of the reach of dayboats from land operations. Many times nitrox mixes – essential when you are clocking up so many dives per day – are often free, and the food and accommodation on some liveaboard vessels these days can rival five-star hotels. Take it from us, you will rarely come away from a liveaboard holiday without putting on weight!
So we’ve established that liveaboards offer fantastic value for money, can deliver you to some of the most-pristine dive sites on the planet, and do it all while letting you relax in comfortable surroundings and eat your fill of delicious food. But are they for you? We provide the answers to some of the most-common questions or concerns we hear regarding liveaboards.
I am only a novice diver, and liveaboards are for experienced divers – Wrong! Okay, yes, in some cases, particular itineraries or routes require you to hold a set minimum dive certification and have logged a specific number of dives – often 50 or more – but by and large, most liveaboards can cater for even those with just a handful of dives under their belt. And liveaboards are the perfect place to seriously grow your experience in a short period of time – where else would you be able to log 25-plus dives in seven days? We have seen novice divers can go through a remarkable transformation over the course of a liveaboard trip, gaining in confidence, growing their skill set and often improving their air consumption while at the same time removing weight from their belts. So just because you are a new diver, don’t dismiss liveaboards – they are the perfect training ground to hone your dive skills.
Sample trip: Thailand, Deep Andaman Queen
I will go stir-crazy being stuck on a boat for a week with a bunch of strangers – Remember that everyone on a liveaboard is there for the same thing. Diving. So even though you might not know anyone from Adam when you first board your boat, you all have that in common, and by the end of the trip we can guarantee that you will have made lots of new friends. Diving is a great ‘leveller’, and it doesn’t matter if someone is a politician, a doctor, an office worker, a binman, whatever, once you are in the water, you are all the same. Diving is, as you would expect, the main topic of conversation on these sorts of trips, but we have had some fascinating conversations with people about their occupations and other hobbies. Just remember our golden rule – no talk about religion or politics!
Sample trip: Egypt, Red Sea Aggressor
I get seasick, so a liveaboard would be my perfect nightmare – if you get queasy on a boat, then a liveaboard might not seem like the best option for you, but there are a vast array of travel sickness medicines, wristbands and ‘cures’ available these days, and so we would urge you to face your fears and give a liveaboard a shot. It is worth combatting this affliction to be able to access world-class dive sites that are out of reach of dayboats or as a shore-diving option. We would also suggest choosing an itinerary in one of the areas of the planet that has calmer waters for your first trip as a liveaboard virgin, just to ease you into the groove.
Sample trip: Indonesia, Tiare Cruise
I love diving, but don’t want to be in the water four or five times a day. Will I get bored on a liveaboard, or be pressured into making all the dives? – No on both counts. While four or five dives a day might be on offer, no one will force you to get into the water. If you want to do the two morning dives, then relax on the sundeck all afternoon, you can. If you want to skip the night dive for a few sundowners, feel free. That is the beauty of a liveaboard – with the accommodation and diving being ‘on-site’, you can dip in and out of the diving schedule as much as you want to.
On the subject of being ‘bored’, not a chance. Liveaboards cruise around some of the most-beautiful parts of the globe, so the scenery is often breathtaking as you move from dive site to dive site. And as well as the diving, liveaboards also offer topside activities, ranging from visits to land sites, island barbecues and beachcombing to kayaking and sailing. We have been on liveboards where non-divers have accompanied their diving spouses, and they have had a whale of a time with the topside options available – as well as chilling with a book on the sundeck with a cocktail in hand!
Sample trip: Maldives, ScubaSpa Ying